Southern (8-3 overall and 7-1 in the Southwestern Athletic Conference) has an open date before facing Grambling (7-4, 7-1) in the Bayou Classic on Nov. 29 in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The Tigers also have an open date after losing 37-23 at home to Alabama State on Saturday. The winner of the Bayou Classic will claim the SWAC West title outright and face East Division champion Alcorn State in the SWAC title game Dec. 6 in Houston. Last season, the Jaguars beat Grambling 40-17.
Southern fell behind 13-0 after one quarter, then dominated the rest of the way in beating Mississippi Valley State 44-13 on Saturday in A.W. Mumford Stadium. The Jaguars rushed for 321 yards, a season-high against NCAA competition. The defense allowed 211 yards, 75 of which came on the first possession of the game. Southern had 24 first downs compared to Valley’s 10 and possessed the ball for 34 minutes and 29 seconds, just two seconds less than its season-best total against Central Methodist.
Lenard Tillery rushed for 162 yards and a touchdown as Southern’s running game dictated the flow of the game for most of the night. He overcame an early fumble that led to a Delta Devils touchdown to get within 27 yards of becoming the Jaguars’ first 1,000-yard rusher in 11 years. The Jaguars showed off their depth of talent as nine players contributed to the running game.
“It’s the championship before the championship, Christmas before Christmas.”
— Southern LB/FB Brian McCain on playing Grambling for the SWAC West Division championship and a berth in the SWAC championship game.
Keep an eye on
QB Deonte Shorts has been in the background since starting the first three games but seems to have found a niche. After losing his starting job while sidelined four games because of injury, he has spelled Austin Howard for a few series in each game since. He has been mostly productive while providing a greater running threat than Howard, who has spearheaded the passing game. Shorts rushed five times for 40 yards and two touchdowns in the second half Saturday.
McCain didn’t make a lot of plays, but the ones he made were impactful in his final game in A.W. Mumford Stadium. His only tackle was a sack on the game’s first play and he carried the ball just three times but two of the runs resulted in touchdowns. In addition, he and the other seniors showed the calmness and patience necessary for the team to be unfazed by the early deficit and turn the game around in the second quarter.